Intensive Courses

Intensives are graded, three-week long courses led by St. Anne’s-Belfield Upper School faculty on topics not typically emphasized in the School’s core curriculum.

The program is designed to offer students and teachers the chance to explore one topic of academic merit deeply by way of projects, experiential learning, guest lectures, and field trips. By halting the core curriculum for the 14 school days between the Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks, Intensives provide unobstructed opportunities to journey off campus, collaborate with local and international experts, and develop deep and lasting bonds among a small group of people who might not otherwise share an academic experience.

The majority of Intensives are open to students in grades nine through twelve, so each cohort is significantly diverse. Boys, girls, boarding students, international students, and teachers teaching outside their disciplines are part of what make Intensives so unique. Students engage in their Intensive from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during the month of December and can be found examining the impact of neuroscience on learning, making motorized vehicles, polishing their debate skills, engaging in local non-profit work and much more.


2017 Intensive Offerings

Branching Out: Exploring the Roots of Chemistry through Metal & Ceramic Arts

Ms. Gibson & Mrs. Van Selow

Believing that students will make better art through chemistry, students will be branching out to explore their artistic voice while investigating the chemical properties of metal and ceramic arts. Students will design, create, and complete a sculpture or installation with wire or clay while investigating the chemical components of the artistic medium. Examining everything in the studio and lab from the chemicals in glazes, clay structure, metallic properties, historical and contemporary artists and local craftsmen. The intensive will include experiments, readings, guest artists, studio and museum visits, movie nights, lectures, studio time and individual feedback. This class is designed for students who are eager to develop strong artistic skills and have interest in real world chemistry applications.

Cents and Sensibility

Mr. Colombo & Ms. Van Liew

Everybody needs to use money, but not everyone uses it wisely. This course will help you develop basic personal finance skills. We’ll examine the basics of how money works, including budgeting, credit, investments, and taxes, as well as the mathematical skills essential for handling money with confidence. Understanding money, however, is not enough. We’ll also be examining the psychology of money, including how money relates to happiness and how common errors in reasoning can have significant financial impacts.

Creative Problem Solving and the Beauty, Philosophy, History, & Art of Math

Mr. Cohen & Mrs. Park

Was math discovered or created? What mathematical patterns exist in nature? How does someone become an expert at solving the Rubik's cube? What makes a good riddle? Students will explore the beauty, philosophy, history, and art of mathematical problem solving. Students will engage in deep problem solving to tackle some of mathematicians' most famous and complex discoveries and questions. With an emphasis on the process of problem solving, students will explore mathematical concepts that are often left out of a typical high school curriculum. Students from all mathematical levels and backgrounds will learn to look for themes among various types of problems and develop strategies for tackling history's most challenging mathematical paradoxes, questions, and proofs. Students will finish the course with a deep appreciation for the differences between expert and novice thinking and problem solving, an eye for mathematical patterns in everyday occurrences (including some of today’s most popular strategy board games), and a high level of confidence to tackle challenging new problems in and outside of the classroom.

Film & Comedy

Dr. Jones & Mr. Taylor

This intensive will serve as a broad introduction to the study of film and the genre of comedy in particular. Going back to Aristophanes, comedy has a central role in allowing cultures to reflect on themselves. We will examine theories of comedy but more importantly how the ancient genre of comedy has been dramatized on film. We will look at silent shorts, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, dark satire dramedy, race comedy, the gross-out comedy, even the effect of YouTube and the rise of the meme. Students will engage in a long term research project over the course on one humorist from Jonathan Swift to Richard Pryor. Students will be able to stage or film a short skit or routine as part of their final project.

Finding A Way

Mr. Minster, Mr. Nichols, & Mr. Stoner

Are you a maker, thinker, artist, producer, programmer, mover, learner, or activist? Do you want to Find A Way to become one? Perhaps the best way to describe this experience is as a Study of the Recently Possible. Together we will explore the imaginative use of communications technologies---how they might augment, improve, and bring delight and art into people’s lives. It is not necessary to have either a technical, computational, or artistic background to Find A Way. In fact, the purpose of this Intensive is to introduce foundational concepts and ideas from these different areas to facilitate cross-disciplinary work. Participants will have a chance to learn about video, photography, theatre arts, music, creative algorithms, real-time computational art, and communications. Our mission is to bridge the gap between art and technology, forming connections through collaborative learning experiences and discovering the meeting point between the tangible products and the intangible experience of individual artistic expression.

Food for Thought

Mrs. Beardsley, Mrs. Speidel, Ms. Taylor, & Ms. Lyle

Food for Thought is designed for students who wish to think about hunger (both globally and locally) as well as grapple with its causes and potential solutions. In this course, students may expect to: think and feel deeply, engage in class discussion, watch and respond to films/texts/images, work with food (prepare and/or eat), write and share reflections, generate and collaborate on project ideas, participate in peer feedback, and create a personal and collective understanding of the impact of hunger. Off-campus field trips are likely to include places such as: grocery stores, local farms, food bank/pantries/kitchens, institutional food service providers/restaurants, local charities, social services agencies, among others. During this course, students (individually and/or in groups) will design and carry out a personal and/or public project communicating their learning about hunger and food insecurity.

Habitat for Humanity

Mr. Bartholomew & Ms. Scheel

The purpose of the intensive is to understand the housing shortage in Charlottesville and how people can be working, yet not afford to own a home. After understanding the financial model, students will spend time physically constructing homes. Students will collaborate with Habitat for Humanity of Charlottesville to construct a home and with Habitat for Humanity of Staunton to renovate a home. (Students must be 17 years old by November 27.)

InvenTeam

Ms. Troy & Dr. Jarry

Four to five teams of students will develop proposals for competing projects, one of which will be the basis for STAB’s submission to the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam competition. The proposals will be presented to a panel of judges, most of whom will be from outside STAB. The panel will recommend the project to move forward to the LMIT submission.

Issues in Local and Regional Resource Management

Mr. Johnson, Ms. Harris, & Mr. Zunka

This course will explore the current issues affecting three local and regional resources - energy, food, and water - and the strategies employed to manage these resources. You will study the legal, ethical, governmental, and financial implications of resource use and management by engaging with experts in various fields, conducting your own independent research, and visiting local management sites. By wrestling with the costs and benefits of resource use, extraction, and conservation, you will become more informed citizens who can offer rational and balanced opinions on these complex issues.

Issues of Race, Gender, and Social Justice

Mr. Shoup, Mrs. Robertson, & Mr. Iturbe
Open to Grades 10 - 12

This course is designed to engage students in the examination of the role of race and gender in their lives and their world. Students will begin by developing the appropriate vocabulary and basic understanding of the evolution of race and gender in contemporary society before beginning to explore the current conditions in the local, national and global communities. By examining recent events in the US, Supreme Court decisions regarding affirmative action and abortion, as well as the role of privilege and class in American Society, students will be encouraged to explore the ways in which the recent past influences our present. After establishing some basic vocabulary, students will work to shape the curriculum and will be responsible for teaching a unit before finishing their study with a their own social justice project.

Just Do It - Practices for Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul

Mr. Beardsley & Mr. Cromer

Everyone needs to practice - athletes, writers, artists, musicians, teachers, students, everybody. Whether learning a new skill, refining an established skill, prepping for a test, or learning to work better with a group, we all engage in practice for one reason or another. This intensive will explore different ways to practice. We will consider how we learn, how we push ourselves to improve, and how we can coordinate and balance our mental, physical, and emotional needs through intentional practice. Particular focus will be upon determining our comfort zones, safely pushing the boundaries, and reflecting on our experience. Daily intentional practices will include exercise, journaling, meditation, working in teams, and processing how we learn and how we address conflict.


The group will begin making a labyrinth path on the Upper School campus in hopes of creating a space for walking meditation, quiet reflection, and a practice of mindfulness. In addition, students will explore how they practice something they are passionate about - hitting jump shots, writing poetry, playing the cello, saving the environment, you name it - and they will work to learn how different kinds of practice can bring body, mind, heart, and soul together for short-term improvements and life-long habits.

The Magic of Magical Realism

Mrs. Moses & Ms. Ewing

Gabriel García Márquez once said, “My most important problem was destroying the lines that separate what seems real from what seems fantastic.”

What is real? What is magical? Do you often question your dreams or compare them with reality? What if you could experience magic in what you perceive to be your “normal” everyday life? In this intensive we will explore the convergence of what we know to be real, normal or everyday and what we consider unreal, hallucinatory and down right crazy. Our roadmap into this world will take us on imaginative journeys through Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Spain and back to the U.S. We will encounter alternative realities, fantastical plot occurrences and frequent transformations of the average and ordinary into the awesome and extraordinary. We will take a deep dive into film, art and literature that will challenge our perceptions of reality and the world around us. We will question and discuss the many versions of the truth in our global society and why one may imagine an alternative existence. Assignments will include viewing and analyzing movies, short readings and artwork. We will invite speakers to our class who are experts in the genre of magical realism and will visit a museum in Washington D.C. where students will select and critique a piece of art that portrays elements of Magical Realism. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate and design a final project that will demonstrate their understanding of Magical Realism and the coexistence of reality and fiction.

Philosophy & Neuroscience of Consciousness

Mr. Smith and Mr. Clark, with student leaders Andrew Culver '18, Nina Goodkin '18, & Syd Landes '18

This intensive seeks to increase appreciation of our local outdoor environment and the rewards that come from time spent outdoors. The program aims to weave together nature writing (Annie Dillard, John Muir, William Cronon, etc., along with student writing), local history, outdoor skills, leadership, and environmental stewardship to help students form a new relationship to the natural world. The intensive envisions a teacher-student partnership with the goal of student-driven, experiential, and place-based learning. In addition to the classroom, students will spend time on local trails and public land. The outdoor component is essential for testing learned skills and understanding readings provided on campus; immersion is essential for this experience. Students will also work to pilot an outdoor education program at St. Anne’s-Belfield--ideally one incorporated into the general curriculum--that will promote appreciation, environmental stewardship, and community building. The class will take several day-trips as well as an overnight hiking trip; students must be willing to spend extended periods of time outside in December weather.

Project Shakespeare

Mrs. Fisher & Mrs. Moore-Coll

In the Project Shakespeare Intensive, students will work together to select, cast, direct, and produce one of Shakespeare’s plays from a provided list of six plays. Students will then read and watch a production of the play they have selected to mount, after which they will begin the process of producing the play in the Elizabethan tradition--bare stage, minimal costumes, and few props. You will delve into the text and characters and develop the play as a cohort of actors as was done in Shakespeare’s time. Together, you will manage the entire production, which will be shared publicly at the conclusion of the course. If you are willing to be part of a working ensemble, to play well with others, to dig into Shakespeare's language, and to take risks and share your ideas, this intensive is for you!

Sports & Emergency Medicine

Mr. Eith and Ms. Leitch

This course is designed to allow students with an interest in medicine to learn more about the human body, sports injuries, emergency care and careers that exist under the medicine umbrella. The secondary purpose is to allow students to explore this area of interest to see if it’s something they will want to pursue in college.

TED-Ed

Mr. Quagliaroli and Dr. Visscher-Gingerich

What makes an idea great? What makes an idea “worth spreading”? Are you a problem-solver, critical thinker and innovator who enjoys big ideas and wonders how they might make the world a better place? Are you interested in learning about animation, writing, and public speaking in order to develop and present your ideas in exciting and creative ways? As founding members of St. Anne’s-Belfield’s TED-Ed Club, students in this Intensive will spend the early days establishing roles and end goals, as much of this Intensive will be student-led and student-governed. Perhaps you are interested in writing, producing and performing your own TED talk, or perhaps you’d prefer to be part of the production team that publicizes, facilitates, organizes, and produces a TED-like event. Whatever your role, you and the other members of the TED-Ed team will work through topics to pursue while working together to chart a course to the big event. (Seniors and juniors interested in being a part of the leadership team for this Intensive should inquire about attending TEDxCharlottesville.)

Vive La Francophonie!

Dr. Reeves & Mrs. Wendling

This Intensive is intended to be a deep dive into the francophone, or French-speaking, world. We will explore the music, film, food, and the arts of the various vibrant cultures that make up la Francophonie. No knowledge of French is necessary; anyone with an interest in learning about other cultures is welcome! We will begin by establishing a definition and the basic history of the francophone world. Students will explore the various cultures (Quebec, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Belgium, Switzerland, Guadeloupe, Haiti, French Polynesia, and France, to name a few!) through different media. We hope to take a couple field trips locally and to Richmond, to experience francophone art and cuisine. We plan to bring in outside speakers to share their expertise on their various cultures (cooking classes! dance classes!). Students will become experts in their own francophone nation and they will occasionally present their findings to the rest of the class. Assignments will include: brief readings, blog posts, and a final presentation.

2016 Intensive Options

Branching Out: Exploring the Roots of Chemistry Through Metal and Ceramic Arts

Ms. Parker and Ms. Bush
Sophomores Enrolled in Chemistry, Juniors, Seniors

Believing that students will make better art through chemistry, students will be branching out to explore their artistic voice while investigating the chemical properties of metal and ceramic arts. Students will design, create, and complete a sculpture or installation with wire or clay while investigating the chemical components of the artistic medium. Examining everything in the studio and lab from the chemicals in glazes, clay structure, metallic properties, historical and contemporary artists and local craftsmen. The Intensive will include experiments, readings, guest artists, studio and museum visits, movie nights, lectures, studio time and individual feedback. This class is designed for students who are eager to develop strong artistic skills and have interest in real world chemistry applications.

Cents and Sensibility: An Introduction to Personal Finance

Mr. Colombo & Mr. O’Donnell

Everybody needs to use money, but not everyone uses it wisely. This course will help you develop basic personal finance skills. We’ll examine the basics of how money works, including budgeting, credit, investments, and taxes, as well as the mathematical skills essential for handling money with confidence. Understanding money, however, is not enough. We’ll also be examining the psychology of money, including how money relates to happiness and how common errors in reasoning can have significant financial impacts.

Digital Photography & Computer Graphics

Ms. Moore-Coll & Mr. Minster

How have digital photography and computer editing shaped the direction of photography? How can computers simulate entire worlds to render immersive, lifelike visuals? In this class, we’ll learn the fundamentals of digital photography and computer graphics. Once you have explored these mediums and learned about the building blocks, you will choose a personal direction—photojournalistic projects or graphic-design imagery—and spend the second part of the Intensive period in developing an extended project. You’ll learn how to work your digital SLR camera, including understanding f/stop, shutter speed, and ISO, and you’ll also learn some fundamentals of code and the mathematical functions that go into developing computer graphics. Requirements include a digital SLR camera, a laptop on which you can edit photographs, and a reasonable comfort level with algebra and functions. We will visit the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and/or a university computer graphics “demo day,” and your photography work will be done in the field as you pursue a subject of your choice.

Film Noir Studies & Production

Mr. Taylor & Mr. Mattise

A film studies and production workshop focused on the Film Noir genre from its introduction in early 1930s German cinema through mid-1980s Neo-Noir. The workshop is centered on the critical viewing of films alongside a full class, Noir-style film production to be written, directed, produced and acted by the members of the course.

Fundamentals of Songwriting

Mr. Lane & Mrs. Fisher

In this Intensive you will explore basic chord structure and chord progressions and the process of writing meaningful lyrics. Though not required, familiarity with an instrument or experience singing is suggested. The course will also include learning the process of analyzing popular songs, which will be selected from the music of the past seven decades, in terms of enduring popularity, musicality, and lyric content. No music theory skills necessary, but certainly helpful.

Habitat for Humanity/Poverty in Charlottesville

Mr. Bartholomew & Ms. Park
Seniors Only

A study of poverty in Charlottesville, with a hand-on community service aspect of building with Habitat for Humanity three days a week. We will be completing houses in the Crozet area. Participants will be taught building skills, how to operate power tools (must be 18), and the general finishing skills required to complete a home. Each workday is the approximate length of the school day. On non-build days, students will either learn building skills or study what leads to people not being able to afford their own homes.

Introduction to Information Technology & Networking

Mr. Gagnon & Mr. Adair

Students will learn the basics of how computers work as well as diagnosing and repairing problems. They will also learn the components of building a local area network, maintaining the network, and troubleshooting network issues. There will be two to three troubleshooting practicals where students will be required to identify and resolve faults that were intentionally injected into the networks they built.

Issues in Local and Regional Resource Management

Mr. Johnson & Mr. Zunka

Students will explore the current issues affecting our local and regional natural resources (including land, water, forests, and wildlife), as well as the strategies employed to manage these resources. Student will study the legal, ethical, governmental, and financial implications of resource use and management through presentations by experts in various fields, independent research, and visiting local sites. By wrestling with the costs and benefits of resource use and conservation, students will become more informed citizens who can offer rational and balanced opinions on these complex issues. Assignments will include readings, independent and group projects and papers, and debates.

Issues of Race, Gender, and Social Justice

Mr. Shoup & Mrs. Robertson
Juniors and Seniors

This course is designed to engage students in the examination of the role of race and gender in their lives and their world. Students will also develop a basic understanding of the meaning of social justice and the ways in which movements work towards achieving a more equitable and just society. Students will begin by developing the appropriate vocabulary and basic understanding of the evolution of race and gender in contemporary society before beginning to explore the current conditions in the local, national and global communities. By examining recent events in the US, Supreme Court decisions regarding affirmative action and abortion, as well as the role of privilege and class in American Society, students will be encouraged to explore the ways in which the recent past influences our present. Students will look at the ways in which these issues play out through art, history, and literature during the past 40 years, and will finish their study with a student designed project requiring them to do some work in social justice in the local community.

Math, Art, and Nature

Ms. Martin & Mr. Cohen

We will be exploring the beauty of mathematics in the natural world. Some of the topics we will be studying are the connections between the Fibonacci sequence, the Golden Ratio, and how these elements are found in nature; “Geometric” art (both manmade and natural); the Big Bang Theory, evolution, and God’s role in it all; the connections between mathematics and music; and how mathematics can explain the inner workings of the real-world. Two books will be used as references: How Math Explains the World by James D. Stein and Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio.

Movers and Makers: An Introduction to DIY Culture and Practice

Dr. Jones & Dr. Craig

In this Intensive, we will explore the Maker movement and delve into Maker culture. Like other Makers, we will learn by doing, building, playing, and creating in a social environment. We will learn how to design and print 3D objects. We'll learn to program and set-up devices called Arduinos that interact with their environment using sensors and actuators to create robots, e-textiles, digital "Magic 8-balls", and more. No programming background is required- we’ll learn whatever we need to know as we go.

What will you make? Want a tracksuit or backpack with turn-signals? Who doesn't? Want your houseplant to send you a tweet every time the soil gets too dry? Now it can! You are only limited by your imagination!

Musicals, Literature, and History

Mr. Beardsley & Mr. Brayden

Students will explore several musicals and their connection to literature, history, and different time periods. Some musicals studied may include Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof, Hamilton, Oliver, and Miss Saigon.

Philosophy & Neuroscience of Consciousness

Dr. Troy & Ms. Van Liew

Are you really in there?

This cohort of students will explore the emerging fields of the philosophy and neuroscience of consciousness. Following a review of the history and philosophy of the self and consciousness, students will study what our brains tell us about the world, what the world tells us about our brains, and what progress philosophy and neuroscience have made in resolving and understanding the two. Students, through engagement with both new and old philosophical texts and recent research in neuroscience, will examine whether neuroscience can help answer some of the questions that have puzzled philosophers for thousands of years. What exactly is consciousness? Do we have free will? Does our perception match reality? Are we the only beings to have consciousness?

Social Entrepreneurship

Ms. Swain and Ms. Phillips

Instead of checking boxes to fit into someone else’s box, learn to build your own future! In this interdisciplinary course you will begin building a business plan that makes a difference, culminating in a final “Pitch Competition” to a panel of local entrepreneurs. With the help of local entrepreneurs, you will refine your ideas, make connections in the community, and begin to put your business plan into action. Embark on an entrepreneurial adventure that can change the world!

Sports & Emergency Medicine

Ms. Bartos & Mr. Eith

Students will be introduced to basic concepts of sports and emergency medicine, and will gain a better understanding of the possible related careers. They will learn medical terminology, some anatomy and physiology, taping and wrapping techniques, and other basic skills that incorporate injury prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation. We will visit or hear from a variety of medical professionals.

Sports In American Life: History, Culture, and Politics 1860 - Present

Mr. Smith & Mr. Yeagle

Sports have shaped American culture and politics in consequential and often unrecognized ways since the mid-nineteenth century. In this Intensive, students will explore that influence through old newspaper archives, long-form magazine essays, and documentaries, among other sources. We will begin with Town Ball in the 1860s and Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to save college football in 1905. Students will then explore such topics as the role of women in sports, the significance of Jackie Robinson for the Civil Rights movement, the mass commercialization of sports in the Jordan era, and the rise of the modern media culture after the creation of ESPN. We will pay special attention to the ways sports have helped to advance public dialogue around sensitive issues (Magic Johnson and AIDS; Michael Sam and homosexuality) and the ways sports have helped Americans heal after national tragedies (9/11; Boston Marathon Bombing). In all cases, we will consider the ways sports have helped to foster identity formation across time and space as American demography has changed.

The Art & Science of Persuasion

Mr. Klaus & Ms. Moran

In this course, you will learn the many ways that humans attempt to influence one another and how we are moved to feel and act in certain ways, sometimes without knowing it is even happening. What makes one politician’s speech more effective than another’s (it’s often not the substance)? What makes one product more attractive than another (it’s often not the quality)? Why do we find one sitcom funnier than another (it’s often not the quality of the jokes)? Why is one job candidate hired over another (it’s often not the qualifications)? Why are some juries persuaded and others not (it’s often not the the evidence)? The answers to these questions and more rest in an awareness of the science of influence, the construction of an effective argument, and the elements of rhetoric. Students will walk away from this course prepared to compose and deliver an influential and memorable speech and aware of the powers of influence that impact our lives each day.

The Teenage Brain

Mr. Cromer & Ms. Speidel
Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors

What is going on inside that brain of yours? This intensive will explore physiological and psychological aspects of the teenage brain, and the reasons why teens take risks, make impulsive decisions, and why addiction, anxiety, and depression are on the rise in adolescence. We will also examine how teens can use effective coping strategies to deal with stress, learning issues, and mental health challenges.

Using Dr. Frances Jensen’s book The Teenage Brain as a guide, students will research specific aspects of cognitive psychology and neuroscience, and visiting experts in the field -- including cognitive scientists, neurologists, therapists, and counselors -- will speak with the class.

Essential Questions: How and why is the teenage brain unique? How can teens optimize brain function in and out of school? How can teens use their knowledge about brain function to manage stress and maintain balanced, healthy lives.

Vamos: Hispanic Culture Through History, Religion, Dance, and Food

Dr. Visscher-Gingerich & Ms. Moses

Students in this course will learn about different aspects of Hispanic cultures through the study of history, religion, literature, dance and food. One of the main aims of this course is to foster greater global empathy. This course will have a nice balance of mini lectures, student research and presentations, fieldtrips, and hands-on experience. Some of the highlights of the course are: a visit to the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington, D.C. to see artifacts from the Inca, Maya, and Aztec civilizations; participation in the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebration at a local church in Charlottesville; salsa classes with a professional Colombian salsa instructor; cooking classes with professional chefs from Mexico, Perú, and Spain; interviews of Hispanic immigrants about their immigration experience to the U.S. At the end of the course, students will share their knowledge through presentations and salsa classes given to Learning Village students.

This course will be conducted in English.

Vive La Francophonie!

Dr. Reeves and Ms. Flatin

This Intensive is intended to be a deep dive into the francophone, or French-speaking, world. We will explore the music, film, food, and the arts of the various vibrant cultures that make up la Francophonie. No knowledge of French is necessary; anyone with an interest in learning about other cultures is welcome!

We will begin by establishing a definition and the basic history of the francophone world. Students will explore the various cultures (Quebec, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Belgium, Switzerland, Guadeloupe, Haiti, French Polynesia, and France, to name a few!) through different media. We hope to take several field trips locally and to Richmond, to experience francophone art and cuisine. We plan to bring in outside speakers to share their expertise on their various cultures (cooking classes! dance classes!). Students will become experts in their own francophone nation and they will occasionally present their findings to the rest of the class. Assignments will include: brief readings, blog posts, and a final presentation.

World Religions in Central Virginia

Mr. Clark & Dr. Simeone
2016 Course Video

Five field trips, daily yoga, and a guidebook project, the World Religions in Central Virginia Intensive combines experiential learning with religious studies. Visits will span Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and will likely include Ligmincha Bon Buddhist Institute, Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville, Congregation Beth Israel, Christ Episcopal Church, and the Islamic Society of Central Virginia. In addition to gaining background on the religions through scripture and art, the production of a multimedia guidebook based on site visits and interviews will be a central focus. Mindfulness and hatha yoga will also be incorporated into our daily activities. The course enriches the body, mind, heart, and soul.

2015 Intensive Options

Algorithmic Art: Introduction to Computer Graphics

Mr. Minster

How do machines make art? How do design scientists use algebraic concepts to generate the beautiful snowflakes in Frozen? How can computers simulate entire worlds to render immersive, life-like visuals?

This lab-oriented course serves as a practical introduction to the abstract field of computer graphics. While no prior programming experience is required, students should be prepared to spend time each day learning fundamentals of code and new mathematical concepts - comfort with algebra and functions is a must. Students will complete incremental “demos” and work toward a final group project of their own design.

Cents and Sensibility: An Introduction to Personal Finance

Dr. Suhr and Mr. Colombo

Everyone needs to use money, but not everyone uses it wisely. This course will help you develop basic personal finance skills. We’ll examine how money works, including budgeting, credit, investments, and taxes, as well as the mathematical skills essential for handling money with confidence.

Understanding money, however, is not enough. We’ll also be examining the psychology of money, including how money relates to happiness and how common errors in reasoning can have significant financial impacts.

Chamber Music for String and Piano Players

Ms. Lyle

Musicians will study chamber music in small groups paired by performance level and interest. Options include traditional groupings as duets and trios as well as solo works with accompaniment. A high level of independent work will be required during the school day only. The culminating product will be either a recording or live performance. Students will also be asked to reflect on their experience in a medium of their choice (written, presentation, or recording).

Euclid's Elements

Ms. Patterson and Mr. Bartholomew

“We hold these truths to be self evident” is the start of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s construction of the Declaration was based on the work of his favorite mathematician, Euclid. Euclid began his book, The Elements, with self evident truths. He used these self evident truths to prove other facts and ultimately explain the physical shape of the world around him. Euclid’s elements have been studied for 23 centuries and are as relevant today as they were when written. It is the ultimate book on truth.

We will start the Intensive with some self evident truths as described in The Elements. We will then use those truths to prove other truths using logical reasoning. Students will then be able to develop skills of logical argument to take a truthful idea and lead it to its logical conclusion. Strong math skills are not essential to develop logical thinking skills. We look forward to taking you on this journey so that you can see why Abraham Lincoln loved this book and kept a copy with him at all times!

Everything You Need to Know, But Didn’t Learn in High School

Mr. Perriello, Ms. Mazzola, Mr. Quagliaroli
Seniors Only

You know how to write a great essay, analyze a poem, and solve a complicated algebra problem. Can you change a tire? Do you know your social security number or your credit score? How do you craft a good resume or cover letter for a job? What should you wear to an interview? How do you solve problems with a difficult roommate? Can you balance a checkbook? What comes after college and why?

In this hands-on course designed to help you navigate life beyond St. Anne’s-Belfield School, you will learn about all of the above and more. Additional topics to be covered are: goal setting, basic finance, job hunting, substance use and abuse, sexual assault and sexual harassment, mental illness including depression and anxiety, and many more invaluable topics. This course will include several field trips and guest speakers.

Food Science: Exploring the Edible Side of Chemistry

Ms. Bush with help from Ms. van Liew, Mr. Holt, and guest speakers

Have you ever wondered how scientists determine how much energy is in food, why bread rises, why chocolate is smooth, or why eggs change their texture when heated? Using Simon Quellen Field’s engaging book Culinary Reactions: The Everyday Chemistry of Cooking as our main text, this Intensive will be focused on the chemical reactions in food such as fermentation, enzymatic degradation, acid/base chemistry, emulsions, crystallization, protein chemistry, and caramelization.

Time will also be spent discussing related topics such as food calorimetry, freezing/boiling point elevation, freeze-drying of food, and solubility. Most of the time will be spent performing experiments in the chemistry lab versus in the kitchen cooking. As a result, this class is open to students who have completed chemistry.

Intersecting Lines: Mathematics, Literature, and the Arts

Mr. Lippmann, Dr. Simeone, and Ms. Kovatch

The Golden Ratio, symmetry of design, geometric art, polyhedrons, Mobius Strip, fractals--are shapes inherently beautiful? Is “beauty” measurable? Does it have universal characteristics across disciplines, cultures, and eras? How does mathematics generate beauty, and what is the beauty of mathematics?

In this Intensive, students will explore the philosophical and aesthetic underpinnings that unite sciences and the arts. Sample discussion topics include: What are the connections between Bach’s music and Escher’s artwork? How do the rhythms of poetry reflect mathematical elegance? If patterns are pleasing, how do disruptions enhance aesthetic value? In addition to our classroom studies and our field trips to view museum art and textile collections, students will create their own mathematical designs, choosing from a variety of mediums such as music, poetry, textiles, string art, Platonic solids, multi-dimensional computer-generated images, quilting, knitting, cross-stitch, crochet, tessellations, architectural designs, and many more.

Issues of Race, Gender, and Social Justice

Ms. Robertson, Mr. Shoup, and Profe Iturbe
Juniors and Seniors Only

This course is designed to engage students in the examination of the role of race and gender in their lives and their world. Students will begin by developing the appropriate vocabulary and basic understanding of the evolution of race and gender in contemporary society before beginning to explore the current conditions in the local, national, and global communities.

By examining recent events in the U.S., Supreme Court decisions regarding affirmative action and abortion, as well as the role of privilege and class in American society, students will be encouraged to explore the ways in which the recent past influences our present. Students will look at the ways in which these issues play out through art, history, and literature during the past 40 years, and will finish their study with a documentary project and a small lesson for the class on the implications of race and gender in their own lives.

Movers and Makers: An Introduction to DIY Culture

Drs. Jones and Craig, featuring Mr. Ben Burghart

In this Intensive, we will explore the Maker movement and delve into Maker culture. Like other Makers, we will learn by doing, building, playing, and creating in a social environment. We will learn how to design and print 3D objects. We'll learn to program and set-up devices called Arduinos that interact with their environment using sensors and actuators to create robots, e-textiles, digital "Magic 8-balls", and more.

No programming background is required- we’ll learn whatever we need to know as we go. What will you make? Want a tracksuit or backpack with turn-signals? Who doesn't? Want your houseplant to send you a Tweet every time the soil gets too dry? Now it can! You are only limited by your imagination!

Musicals and Gangsters: Film Genres and Introduction to Filmmaking

Mr. Taylor and Mr. Mattise

This Intensive will be a continuation of the Silent Film Intensive from 2014 although no prior knowledge is necessary in order to take the class. Moving into the sound era, we will use the emerging genres of the musical and the gangster film to examine how Hollywood started to define and refine the kinds of movies that were made in the 1930s.

In this Intensive, we will learn to watch films critically as well as wrestle with the essential components of how to make a film. Students will receive a basic vocabulary of how to talk about film while also putting those terms into practice. The aim is for the class to work together to make a short film that goes from germ of an idea to finished edited product in about three weeks. With a balance of critical and practical skills, this Intensive is an ideal way to see the deep history of film while learning the basic tenets of how to make a narrative film. Films under consideration for study: Angels with Dirty Faces, Little Caesar, Scarface (1930s), 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and maybe even Singing in the Rain.

Photojournalism in the Digital Age

Ms. Moore-Coll

Digital and mobile photography have revolutionized the field of photojournalism. In this class, we’ll learn how to shoot and edit pictures in the field using your iPhone and/or iPad, and also how to work with digital SLR cameras and Adobe Lightroom software for editing full-resolution pictures. Students are encouraged to bring their own equipment, but a digital SLR is available for use at school for those who don’t have their own. We will identify personal “mini-documentary” projects, and each student will maintain a simple blog to present and publish images, both works-in-progress and final online portfolios.

Social Entrepreneurship: Business design that makes a difference

Ms. Reed, Ms. Swain, and Mr. Buford

Instead of checking boxes to fit into someone else’s box, learn to build your own future! In this interdisciplinary course you will begin building a business plan that makes a difference, culminating in a final “Pitch Competition” to a panel of local entrepreneurs. With the help of local entrepreneurs, you will refine your ideas, make connections in the community, and begin to put your business plan into action. Embark on an entrepreneurial adventure that can change the world!

Sports and Emergency Medicine

Ms. Bartos and Ms. Norte

Students will be introduced to basic concepts of sports and emergency medicine and will gain a better understanding of the possible related careers. They will learn medical terminology, some anatomy and physiology, taping and wrapping techniques, and other basic skills that incorporate injury prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation. We will visit or hear from a variety of medical professionals.

The Art of Argument, the Science of Persuasion and the Importance of Rhetoric

Mr. Klaus and Mr. Lourie

In this course, students will learn the many ways that humans attempt to influence one another and how we are moved to feel and act in certain ways, sometimes without knowing it is even happening. What makes one politician’s speech more effective than another’s (it’s often not the substance)? What makes one product more attractive than another (it’s often not the quality)? Why do we find one sitcom funnier than another (it’s often not the quality of the jokes)? Why is one job candidate hired over another (it’s often not the qualifications)? Why are some juries persuaded and others not (it’s often not the the evidence)?

The answers to these questions and more rest in an awareness of the science of influence, the construction of an effective argument, and the elements of rhetoric. Students will walk away from this course prepared to compose and deliver an influential and memorable speech, and aware of the powers of influence that impact our lives each day.

The Philosophy and Neuroscience of Consciousness

Mr. Lane and Dr. Troy

Are you really in there?

This cohort of students will explore the emerging fields of the philosophy and neuroscience of consciousness. Following a review of the history and philosophy of the self and consciousness, students will study what our brains tell us about the world, what the world tells us about our brains, and what progress philosophy and neuroscience have made in resolving and understanding the two.

Students, through engagement with both new and old philosophical texts and recent research in neuroscience, will examine whether neuroscience can help answer some of the questions that have puzzled philosophers for thousands of years. What exactly is consciousness? Do we have free will? Does our perception match reality? Are we the only beings to have consciousness?

The Teenage Brain

Mr. Cromer and Ms. Speidel

This Intensive will explore physiological and psychological aspects of the teenage brain. Students will learn about the unique ways the brain of a teenager functions, with specific investigations into decision making, learning, mental health, and the impact of coping mechanisms (beneficial and detrimental).

A broad array of readings and learning experiences will set the foundation for student research into specific aspects of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Visiting experts in the field - including cognitive scientists, neurologists, therapists, and counselors - will speak with the class.

Tolkien: The Man and His Mythology

Mr. Beardsley and Ms. Flatin

How does an author create a believable fantasy world? What criteria are essential for a reader to embrace that world fully? How do themes in Tolkien’s mythology connect with people today in the 21st century? What impact has Tolkien’s work had on the popular culture of today?

In this intensive we will examine Tolkien’s lifelong commitment to language, myth, and storymaking. We will examine his life and the role it played in his work. Texts examined will include Tree and Leaf, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. We will also look at the impact Tolkien has had on popular culture today including music, artwork, games, fantasy, and gaming. Students signing up should have an interest in fantasy stories and exploring fantasy worlds.

Vamos! Hispanic Culture Through Food, Dance, and History

Dr. Visscher-Gingerich, Ms. Moses, and Ms. Miller

Students in this course will learn about different aspects of Hispanic cultures through the study of history, religion, literature, dance and food. One of the main aims of this course is to foster greater global empathy. This course will offer a balance of mini lectures, student research and presentations, field trips, and hands-on experiences.

Some of the highlights of the course are: a visit to the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington D.C. to see artifacts from the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations; participation in the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe celebration a at a local church in Charlottesville; salsa classes with a professional Colombian salsa instructor; cooking classes with professional chefs from Mexico, Peru and Spain; interviews of Hispanic immigrants about their immigration experience to the U.S.

At the end of the course, students will share their knowledge through presentations and salsa classes given to Learning Village students.

Vines and Lines: Viticulture and En Plein Air Art

Ms. Parker, Mr. Austin Hamilton, and Ms. Madeleine Mazzola
Juniors and Seniors Only

Vines and Lines will take a broad look at viticulture and landscape drawing and/or painting. The topics discussed will include the yearly growth cycle of grapevines, the characteristics of international grape varieties, specific wine producing regions of the world and understanding the basics of winemaking. Understanding the physiology of grapevines will help students better draw and/or paint the landscape in pastel, pencil, charcoal, acrylic and oil mediums. Students will study the history of landscape painting from Impressionism to contemporary artists and local artists. Students will learn how to draw/paint a landscape, find their artistic voice, exhibit artwork, speak about artwork, and write an artist statement. Students will be in the studio, outside, and travel to various local wineries.

Wildlife Management

Mr. Johnson, Mr. Ware, and Mr. Zunka

Why is it important to conserve Virginia wildlife? With the increased population of humans, it is imperative that native and non-native wildlife is managed successfully. In order to fully understand successful management, students need to have an understanding of habitat, population dynamics, life histories, and behavior. Students will gain understanding by researching, observing in natural habitats, and learning effective management and harvesting techniques.

World Religions in Central Virginia

Mr. Clark and Mr. Brooks Tate

Students will encounter the richness of world religions in central Virginia through field trips to five different religious centers, text studies, and daily mindfulness / yoga practice. Visits will span Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, and likely include Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville, Ligminicha Bon Buddhist Institute, Congregation Beth Israel, Our Lady of Angels Monastery, and the Islamic Society of Central Virginia.

In addition to gaining background on the religions through scripture and art, the production of a multi-media guidebook based on site visits and interviews will be a central focus.

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